PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 20-08-2021

Last Updated on 1 month by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Friday, 20 August 2021

Transmission Update

We have 485 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8am today. 251 cases are from the Western Division, 188 cases are from the Central Division and 46 cases from the Eastern Division. A full breakdown of areas of interest will be published online tonight on the Ministry’s COVID-19 dashboard. You will also be able to view the approximate locations of new cases, active cases, and recovered cases on the dashboard at the following link: http://bit.ly/3vE2ZBb.

The 46 new cases reported from the Eastern Division are all contacts of the index case from Rakiraki Village, Yale, Kadavu. 45 of these new cases are from the same village, while one case is from Naioti Village. All of these cases have been isolated.

There have been 1,080 new recoveries reported since the last update, which means that there are now 20,591 active cases. 12,050 active cases are in the Central Division, 8,494 active cases in the Western Division, 1 active case in the Northern Division and 46 active cases in the Eastern Division. We are currently reviewing and reconciling our active case database with recoveries and as a result we expect the recovery numbers to increase in the coming weeks.

There have been 43,026 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 43,096 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 21,825 recoveries.

Deaths

We have 11 new COVID-19 deaths to report for the period of August 13th-18th. All deaths were reported from the Western Division.

The first COVID-19 death to report is a 68 year old man from Sigatoka. He presented to the Sigatoka Sub-Divisional Hospital in severe respiratory distress. He was transferred from Sigatoka Sub-Divisional Hospital to Lautoka Hospital. Sadly, he died seven days after admission on the 17/08/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The second COVID-19 death to report is a 68 year old man from Lautoka. He presented to the Lautoka Hospital in respiratory distress. His family reported that he had cough and shortness of breath three days prior to presentation. He died three days after admission (18/08/2021). He received the first dose of the vaccine in early-August. He did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that he was not fully vaccinated.

The third COVID-19 death to report is a 73 year old man from Lautoka. He presented to the Lautoka Hospital in respiratory distress. He died two days after admission (13/08/2021). He received the first dose of the vaccine in late-July. He did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that he was not fully vaccinated.

The fourth COVID-19 death to report is an 84 year old man from Rakiraki who died at home on the 17/08/2021.  He was not vaccinated.

The fifth COVID-19 death to report is a 72 year old woman from Sigatoka who died at home on the 17/08/2021.  She was not vaccinated.

The sixth COVID-19 death to report is a 59 year old man from Sigatoka. He was declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer at the Sigatoka Sub-Divisional Hospital on the 18/08/2021. This means that he died on his way to the hospital or at home. He was not vaccinated.

The seventh COVID-19 death to report is a 64 year old man from Nadi. He was declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer at the Nadi Hospital on the 18/08/2021. This means that he died on his way to the hospital or at home. He was not vaccinated.

The eighth COVID-19 death to report is a 52 year old man from Nadi. He was transferred from an Isolation facility in Nadi on the 15/08/2021 to the Lautoka Hospital. He was noted to be in severe respiratory distress. Sadly, he died three days after admission on the 18/08/2021 at the Lautoka Hospital. He received the first dose of the vaccine in early-July. He did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that he was not fully vaccinated.

The ninth COVID-19 death to report is a 95 year old woman from Sigatoka who died at home on the 17/08/2021. She was not vaccinated.

The tenth COVID-19 death to report is a 57 year old woman from Nadi. She presented to the Nadi Hospital in severe respiratory distress. She died five days after admission on the 17/08/2021. She received the first dose of the vaccine in late-July. She did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that she was not fully vaccinated.

The eleventh COVID-19 death to report is an 86 year old man from Lautoka who died at home on the 17/08/2021. He was not vaccinated.

There have been 14 more deaths of COVID-19 positive patients. However, these deaths have been classified as non-COVID deaths by their doctors. Doctors have determined that their deaths were caused by serious pre-existing medical conditions and not COVID-19.

With today’s newly reported deaths, there are now 432 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 430 of these deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year. Please note that due to the time required by clinical teams to investigate, classify and report deaths, at least a 4 day interval will be given to calculate the 7 day rolling average of deaths, based on date of death, in order to help ensure the data collected is complete before the average is reported. Therefore, as of August 16th, the national 7 day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 11. The 7 day rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 5 and in the Western Division is 6.

We also have recorded 247 COVID-19 positive patients who died from the serious medical conditions that they had before they contracted COVID-19; these are not classified as COVID-19 deaths. A death announced yesterday 19 August 2021 from the Eastern Division is currently under investigation.

Hospitalisations

There are currently 310 COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital. 114 patients are admitted to the Lautoka Hospital, 38 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 158 admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 31 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 15 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 5,004 individuals were screened and 652 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 478,049 individuals screened and 84,113 swabbed to date. As of the 19th August our mobile screening teams screened a total of 1,695 individuals and swabbed 168. This brings our cumulative total to 796,183 individuals screened and 70,530 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing update

A total of 314,945 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 357,806 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1,626 tests have been reported for August 19th. The 7-day daily test average is 1,466 tests per day or 1.7 tests per 1,000 population. The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 36.2%.

Vaccination Update

As of the 19th August 541,611 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 228,799 have received their second doses. This means that 92.3% of the target population have received at least one dose and 39% are now fully vaccinated nationwide. We are currently doing a mop up exercise of our first dose campaign, which will allow us to specifically target communities with low coverage, and subsequently also correct and update the total eligible population for our current vaccination program.

Fijians can check the Ministry’s vaccine dashboard to find real-time data on first-dose and second-dose numbers at the national, divisional and sub-divisional levels. You can access the live dashboard at http://bit.ly/3h2JfCZ

Epidemic Outlook

The 7-day average of new cases per day is 520 cases per day or 588 cases per million population per day. We have noted a drop in cases reported per day recently. However, our daily testing numbers have also been dropping around the same time, due to the change in testing policy in Suva-Nausori. As announced on July 21st by the Permanent Secretary, only persons that have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 are being targeted for testing in Suva-Nausori. This was done so that resources could be targeted to early detection, monitoring and care of persons with COVID-19 who are at higher risk of severe disease, to prevent more people succumbing to severe disease and death.

We are likely seeing the effect of this testing policy change now in Suva-Nausori with the drop in daily reported cases. This does not mean that the outbreak is on a downward trend in the Suva-Nausori community. As previously announced by the Permanent Secretary, daily case numbers in Suva-Nausori are currently not being used as an indicator to monitor progress of the outbreak in Suva-Nausori. The Ministry is closely monitoring other indicators such as test positivity, hospitalisations and deaths to track the progress of the outbreak in Suva-Nausori.

We are seeing increasing cases reported in the Western Division with evidence of widespread community transmission in that division.  Deaths per day at a 7 day average in the Western Division now surpass the Central Division.

Advice to the public

Update on investigations in the Northern division

Today is day 3 of the containment zone in Nabouwalu. Day 4 tests for all except 2 primary contacts of the case reported from Nabouwalu  have returned negative. Results of the remaining 2 primary contacts are pending. Meanwhile, the health service set up at the Immaculate Junior Secondary School is working well. Health teams from Labasa Hospital are travelling daily to Bua Nursing Station and Lekutu Health Centre to provide health services to the community outside the containment zone. And border controls at Nabouwalu and all other Northern ports have been reinforced.

Activities that will be carried out inside the Nabouwalu containment zone include:

  1. 3 phases of screening and swabbing for the containment zone population. In the first phase of screening, 367 persons were swabbed. All have tested negative. A second round of swabbing for 217 people has been conducted with results pending.
  2. Daily symptoms checks and swabbing
  3. House to house covid safe awareness program
  4. Vaccination for target population in containment zone area

Over 1000 swabs have also been collected for people outside the containment zone in the villages of Nasavu, Naviqiri, and Nawailevu.

Update on investigations in Kadavu

As regards to  the case reported from Rakiraki Village in Yale, Kadavu,  given the clinical details of the case, and the link to persons who are believed to have made unauthorised travels between Suva and Kadavu,  we have to assume there is community transmission on the island of Kadavu. To help with our public health containment measures, shipping services to and from Kadavu have been suspended for the week commencing 19th of August to the 26th of August 2021.

A 14-day  containment zone has been established for the Gasele Nursing Zone in Kadavu. This is to localize the disease to the nursing zone area for one incubation period of 14 days and to monitor incidence and disease trend in the lockdown area within this period. The following is in place within the containment zone:

  1. Movement between the 7 villages in the containment zone is restricted to reduce further spread
  2. Home quarantine of the primary contacts is enforced
  3. Contact tracing of primary contacts and secondary contacts
  4. The identification and monitoring of vulnerable persons initiated and strengthened
  5. Community  engagement program escalated to foster covid safe behaviour with specific focus on protecting the vulnerable persons
  6. Vaccination education and rollout escalated and targeted to vulnerable persons

Further to this a clinical scouting team will be deployed over this weekend to assist our health team in Kadavu in mapping out a plan to escalate clinical care capability and strengthen care access especially to the identified vulnerable persons.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services reiterates its call for maritime islanders not to engage in unauthorized travel to and from Viti Levu. All our current protocols to regulate domestic movements must be adhered to in order to prevent spread of the virus beyond Viti Levu. Furthermore, we repeat our call to all village leaders and elders to support our current efforts to protect our maritime islands and to immediately report any suspicious movements into your community.